Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shula Cohen

Shula Cohen , the true story of a Jewish Lebanese woman living, in the 1940s, in Wadi Abu-Jmil, an area in Beirut that used to gather a big community of Lebanese Jews.

For those of you who never heard of her, Shula Cohen was born in Jerusalem; at seventeen she married a wealthy Beirut merchant, with whom she raised seven children. She became a spy for Israel in Beirut, where her acceptance in Lebanese / Syrian social circles gave her unprecedented access to secret intelligence information.

It started in 1947, on the eve of Israel's war of Independence, when she stumbled on some military intelligence and sent it on to Israel. Immediately, the nascent intelligence services tapped her to smuggle Jewish refugees from Syria across the Lebanese border.
Shula helped thousands of Jews from Syria and Iraq come through Lebanon to Israel. She found escape routes for them by land, sea and air.

In the 1950s, she organized a spy ring based in a Beirut nightclub (Rambo Club), and obtained for the Mossad secret Lebanese and Syrian documents.

She was able to work for fourteen years before she was caught

Shula was arrested and convicted by the Lebanese government in the late 1950s, she spent seven years in prison –where she was repeatedly tortured- and was released in 1967, following the Six Day War as part of a prisoner's exchange.

Amazing that a movie, entitled “Shula Cohen, The pearl”, was playing in cinema theatres in Lebanon.

The reason they allowed it to play is that it distorts the truth and presents Shula as a prostitute/Madam/spy, who slept with high government officials, who gave away young girls to trap important Lebanese personalities; and who smuggled Jewish thieves into Israel.

Because of course, when Jews escape pogroms, it can’t be only to save their lives. In the narrow minded Lebanese mentality, they must be guilty of something. In the movie, the Lebanese Jews are accused of stealing and embezzling money, while escaping; and they are accused of doing a huge damage to the Lebanese economy (!).
In fact, the money they took along was only theirs and their only asset while they left behind lands and houses.

Shula, at the end of the “movie” is shown in prison, as a privileged convict.
The torture scenes are omitted.

Needless to specify that it is an amateur movie with a horrible music background. Costumes are catastrophic. Even the wig of the main actress is of a cheap halloween costume standard.
The acting is a disaster.

This cheap amateur movie was in cinema theatres in Lebanon, while Waltz with Bachir, who has been nominated and has won several important awards, has been banned…